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The New Jersey Devils are going to select Jack Hughes with the 1st overall pick. That much we know.
What we don't know is who they'll choose the next time they're on the clock. Provided they don't include 34th overall in a trade for immediate help, which is a possibility, there should be a handful of quality targets to pick from.
At the top of the possible wish list – at least for me – would be Nils Hoglander. The 5'9' Swedish winger sits 35th in Bob McKenzie's final ranking
. Considering it is based on the opinions of 10 scouts within NHL organizations, the list is usually a pretty good indicator of how a player is viewed and what range he's expected to be drafted in.
I should preface this by saying it's entirely possible a team in the 20s feels strongly about Hoglander and is willing to use a high pick on him. I certainly would be.
In the games I watched/tracked, Hoglander showcased 1st round talent time-and-time again while playing against men in the SHL.
He is creative with the puck on his stick and not afraid to try flashy plays to make things happen. I've seen him slide the puck through the feet of defenders, put the puck behind his back, utilize toe drags, pull off a lacrosse-style goal from behind the net, etc, etc.
He has exceptional hands, which not only allow him to deke out opponents and create space for himself, but to change angles and get the puck in shooting position to put his quick release to use.
Though he has the talent to play one-on-one, Hoglander is far from an individual artist. He likes to get his teammates involved and is an excellent passer who has the ability to dissect defenses, especially upon entry and off the rush.
If he's available at 34, the Devils should grab him without thinking twice. If not...well, hopefully he didn't end up with a rival.
On the Taylor Hall contract situation
Data tracking Hughes and Kakko at the Worlds
On the Devils' potential interest in Nikita Zaitsev
Four potential targets on TSN's trade bait board
Five pieces the Devils could use as trade bait this summer
Another word on Jordan Eberle
The Kaapo Kakko blog™
The Jack Hughes blog™